Month two – Still reading strong!
The adventure continues. My book club gals and I excitedly read on into May with Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Though we have no set schedule, we did decide to take turns picking books. Stardust however, was actually voted on. The woman with the power this month turned it back around to us by way of a community vote between three novels. I truthfully do not even remember the other two books; I voted for Stardust. Most had seen and loved the movie already, but I was not among them. It got my vote, because I adored Ocean at the End of the Lane; this seemed it would have a similar feel. A second unusual occurrence this month: instead of being one of the first to finish, I was one of the very last. We all planned to watch the movie together and I wanted the book in my mind to be as fresh as could be when absorbing the story again. I hate that book/movie confusion. When I feel like maybe I read wrong, glossed over too many paragraphs, or just plumb don’t remember the story because the movie ends up so different. It’s disorienting!
Starudst was, to me, an adventure story reminiscent most of The Hobbit. It also reminded me a lot of the Merlin mini-series and my own travels. Definitely the most enjoyable part was the travel stuff, remembering the feelings that travel can evoke. Many lines of the text and many feelings that Tristran had closely, if not exactly, mirrored things I’ve felt while away from home. Many of my questions below focus on specific quotes, because I felt them so intensely. I knew those things. Speaking again to the familiarity, two blurbs in the beginning of the book mention Gaiman’s ability to capture the traditional fairytale essence, but also write plot points that only he could come up with. I agree with that wholeheartedly. I recognized things, but the story was completely new and imaginative all the same. That’s quite simply, a miracle; to do both simultaneously without the reader getting bored of the familiar parts.
Questions to discuss with a book club. As always, feel free to answer in the comments!
- Discuss the feeling of a typical 17-year-old found on page 40, this particular restlessness. How did this change in Tristran throughout the novel? Did travel make this feeling grow or shrink? Discuss this feeling in yourself at different ages. How have you changed with time and travel?
- Talk about the idea that every lover is a madman and a minstrel (Page 78). Is this true? What other emotions can make a person feel this way?
- What stories did this book remind you of? What parts seemed completely new?
- On page 185, Tristran feels that he’s lost something. Discuss the feeling of loss after an amazing experience.
- My favorite line of the book is at the very end when Tristran writes, “We have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us.” When is the last time something unavoidably detained you?
- As always with books turned movie, what are the key differences? Did they help or hurt the movie in your opinion?
- Look into Charles Vess. Discuss his art as it relates to fairytales in general and to Stardust.